Traffic-related air pollution and respiratory health during the first 2 yrs of life

U. Gehring, J. Cyrys, G. Sedlmeir, B. Brunekreef, T. Bellander, P. Fischer, C. P. Bauer, D. Reinhardt, H. E. Wichmann, J. Heinrich

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As part of an international collaborative study on the impact of Traffic-Related Air Pollution on Childhood Asthma (TRAPCA), the health effects associated with long-term exposure to particles with a 50% cut-off aerodynamic diameter of 2.5 μm (PM2.5), PM2.5 absorbance, and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) were analysed. The German part of the TRAPCA study used data from subpopulations of two ongoing birth cohort studies (German Infant Nutrition Intervention Programme (GINI) and Influences of Lifestyle Related Factors on the Human Immune System and Development of Allergies in Children (LISA)) based in the city of Munich. Geographic information systems (GIS)-based exposure modelling was used to estimate traffic-related air pollutants at the birth addresses of 1,756 infants. Logistic regression was used to analyse possible health effects and potential confounding factors were adjusted for. The ranges in estimated exposures to PM2.5, PM2.5 absorbance, and NO2 were 11.9-21.9 μg·m-3, 1.38-4.39×10-5 m-1, and 19.5-66.9 μg·m3, respectively. Significant associations between these pollutants and cough without infection (odds ratio (OR) (95% confidence interval (CI)): 1.34 (1.11-1.61), 1.32 (1.10-1.59), and 1.40 (1.12-1.75), respectively) and dry cough at night (OR (95% CI): 1.31 (1.07-1.60), 1.27 (1.04-1.55), and 1.36 (1.07-1.74), respectively) in the first year of life were found. In the second year of life, these effects were attenuated. There was some indication of an association between traffic-related air pollution and symptoms of cough. Due to the very young age of the infants, it was too early to draw definitive conclusions from this for the development of asthma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)690-698
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Respiratory Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Air pollution
  • Geographic information systems
  • Infants
  • Respiratory symptoms
  • Traffic


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